US Elections: The End is in sight.

Praise be to Thor. Finally, after what has felt like a campaign that lasted my entire life, the US presidential election is about to be over. I can not express in words the true depth of my relief.

For months now we have had coverage of the run-up to today on pretty much every news bulletin. The early stages were just annoying – outlines of the varying candidates as they slugged it out to represent their parties. As the election got near though, it has become a joke. We have local news stations running “US Election specials” – when I can pretty much guarantee that there are no more than one or two listeners who even have a chance to vote.

Today was the worst, although it points to the light at the end of the tunnel, with almost blanket coverage. Odin forbid something newsworthy happens today (for example, a series of bombs in Northern Ireland) because it isn’t getting any coverage. Instead we get to listen to genuinely subnormal people, who actually have got a vote, demonstrating their prejudice and ignorance.

Having met quite a few Americans, all have turned out to be basically normal so I can only assume the examples on the radio were specially selected to demonstrate ignorance, racism and general stupidity. Shame on all the news agencies. (Shame on America for making such ignorance socially acceptable anywhere inside its borders).

Here in the UK, the coverage of the US election has, without a doubt, been greater than the coverage of a UK parlimentary election. The only thing missing would be daily party political broadcasts. Being an avid news watcher, I feel I have been fed so much about the elections I should have a right to vote. I could certainly make more of an informed decision than some of the whackos on the radio.

The madness of this was highlighted on BBC Radio 1 yesterday. During one of the shows (Scott Mills) a researcher went out and asked members of the British Public how they would vote in the election today. Every single person asked named a politician they would vote for. None passed comment on it being the US elections, there was the implicit assumption that people could vote. When challenged if he could vote in the elections today, one person said “Yes, I am 19, of course I can vote.”

Now, survey techniques aside, this pretty much shows how much we have endured over this election. Finally the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight.

The big problem remains what is that light? Is it the end of the tunnel or an on-coming train?

Mind-boggling politics

From this distance, the McCain campaign seems to have become so demented that you wonder if they are deliberately trying to lose. For instance, they’ve spent the equivalent of several yearly minimum wages to dress a woman (whose entire USP is supposed to be that she’s just an ordinary Mom, you betcha) as a Vogue businesswoman.

And Sarah Palin then numbed the mind further by claiming that opposition to this Olympic-standard rate of expenditure is “sexist”. (No, Sarah, how can I explain this… Where do I start? Beauty queen contestant. Pitbull with lipstick. Hockey mom. Cute winks. I suspect you know what pandering to sexist stereotypes is, anyway.)

Plus, she claimed – in some travesty of self-defence – that she hadn’t worn most of them anyway. :-)

“The whole thing is just bad!” she said. “Oh, if only people knew how frugal we are. It’s kind of painful to be criticised for something when all the facts are not out there and are not reported.”

Indeed. Like this:

It was disclosed today that she paid a make-up artist $22,000 in the first fortnight of this month, following the revelation earlier this week of a $150,000 spending spree on clothes

Oh, that awkward “sexism” again. Twenty two thousand dollars on make-up in two weeks? Thats $1571.43 a day. Assuming that the person who applies it earns $1000 a day – which is insane – that still leaves $500 worth of materials to be squeezed onto the small surface area of a human face. Even the ugliest pit bull in the world couldn’t need that much coverage to look like the Mona Lisa. How can she physically lift her head if it has to support the weight of 20 kilos of nanosome pentapeptides?

From sexism to racism. The Republicans have really pushed the boat out here. Who could even imagine anything as weird as the Republican-supporting girl – with a backwards B (that seemed to be drawn in lipstick) on her cheek and the apparent black-eye makeup – who made the patently ludicrous claim she’d been robbed by a black man in pursuit of an Obama victory?

So the deeply troubling violent attack in Pittsburgh on a McCain campaign worker by a “tall black man” who carved a letter B onto her face, telling her “you’re going to be a Barack supporter”, turns out to be a deeply troubling racist fantasy invented by someone we’ll charitably describe for the time being as disturbed (from the Guardian)

Palin wins hearts – boggles minds

Amazingly, it seems that despite the sheer force of nonsense in her, ahem, speeches, Sarah Palin has won some supporters. No, I cant understand it either.

Reading the comments on the entertaining Guardian piece I linked to previously, shows there are some people with an interesting take on reality. I will try to provide links to the comments but Heather has informed me this doesn’t seem to be working.

For some reason, there are a lot of Americans reading British newspapers [see Heathers Post] and then feeling the need to wade in when ever the Republican party is mentioned. Nearly all are so rabidly anti-Obama it is quite funny. Even funnier are the ones who say we should mind our own business and no one in America cares what we think. The irony is fantastic, and only matched by their ignorance of it.

Anyway, on the current stream of conciousness, which is at least on the American Comment pages… I am aware my recent posts have been long, so I will only look at two funny comments here:

The first s by the very American sounding “JohnQPublic” who writes:

No honest person would have described this debate as anything other than a draw in which both candidates states many falsehoods as truths and didn’t answer the questions posed. No one sets the cause of equal rights for women further back than do self-described feminists.

Well, I am hurt that John Q Public thinks I am dishonest, but in all fairness nothing Biden could have done would have been either as offensive or just plain wrong as Palin. To say she “drew” with him is comical. Bastet only knows what the second sentence refers to…

The second is by the also-American-sounding “FreedomLand.” This one is so good, I’m going to have to take it a bit at a time:

Ahh, is this the male misogynist blog? Opps, no, its written by a woman! Perhaps an Obama-phile in disguise. “The Ring” attacks again, duh…..

The “ring” bit has lost me, however the opening gambit speaks volumes. It is a twist of appeal to ridicule mixed with ad-hominems. It says nothing of value and adds nothing to FreedomLand’s arguments – it does highlight a lack thereof.

For some reason, it has become quite common for a certain type of person to misspell “oops” as “opps” – check out how many times you can see it on FSTDT. It certainly takes the sting out of this attempt at an insult though.

[comment about Palin getting off lightly] No, you are quite wrong, Michelle Goldberg, Barack Obama has been doing precisely that all year. Along comes a woman with executive experience in government and you assume the rules should change to pillory her to your satisfaction.

Choke. Wow. There are loads of people who bang on about how Palin has more experience than Obama. I find it quite weird to be honest, but most worryingly, if she does have “experience” why in Hades’ name does she come across as an ignorant retard every time she sees a camera? If she has “executive experience” where in Asgard is she hiding it?

Palin gets away with murder in front of the public. People hold back on savaging her because it seems a touch unchivalrous and, honestly, it is like kicking a puppy. She is, on the whole, too easy a target to fully ridicule – even here we hold back because so many things just seem to obvious and cruel as she is blatantly educationally subnormal.

You also forgot to mention that her husband is at least part native American Eskimo. What does it mean for a white woman to be married to an indigenous ethnic minority in the USA? Quite a lot really…..

What? A lot of what? The article also forgets to mention she has ten fingers and two ears… Is this a weird implication that Palin gets the “race” vote because she is married to a Native American? Have you seen Obama? I am really confused by this rant.

[comment on her performance being a farce] Well, this IS politics as it is, you know. Its a popularity contest decided by the lowest common denominator in society and usually on the most superficial grounds. Its the same for women candidates as it is for men.

Oh that makes it OK then? Vote for Palin because she is an idiot who appeals to other idiots.

Isn’t America a great place?

I am rapidly trying to convert my urge to emigrate to the US into an emigration to New Zealand

Vote For Me! Self Delusional Politics

I cant wait until the US elections are over. At the moment, it is not possible to encounter a news bulletin that doesn’t make reference to it. Often including a clip of the brain destroyingly odious Sarah Palin stringing random words together in the manner of someone who has heard them, but has no idea what they mean.

Initially, reading about how Palin had been chosen to appeal to the “female demographic” (what?) I felt offended on behalf of women the world over. It is stunningly offensive to think that a political strategist thinks so little of American women that they would vote for Palin simply because she is a woman. I mean, how shallow must you be to choose your vote based on nothing more than the gender of the politician….

With this in mind, imagine my surprise to read / hear on various news sources (admittedly less and less, recently) that polls showed women were changing their intended votes because of Palin. Wow. Who in the name of Loki would have thought that could happen. Fortunately, this is largely just terminally bad polling techniques and probably bears as much resemblance to reality as me being a multi-millionaire. Phew.

When the initial relief had passed, I realised that there still were actual, living, apparently sane (*), people who thought Palin was a good candidate and would do the part good. Shock time again. How can this be I wondered. She is woefully under-educated and this is only matched by her lack of experience in either national or international politics. Yet some people love her.

How can this be the case, I wondered. Look at this example of a Palin quote about how she isn’t going to answer the questions she is asked during the debate: (source)

I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I’m going to talk straight to the American people and let them know my track record also,

No really. Not only is it a collection of empty words which seek to divert attention from her ignorance, it is also quite bad use of language. Now you might have thought there would be some element of scripting and rehearsal, so the only conclusion is this is how she wants to be seen speaking. It is clearer in this next quote (same source)

Here, for example, is how she responded to Biden’s comments about how the middle class has been short-changed during the Bush administration, and how McCain will continue Bush’s policies:

Say it ain’t so, Joe, there you go again pointing backwards again. You preferenced [sic] your whole comment with the Bush administration. Now doggone it, let’s look ahead and tell Americans what we have to plan to do for them in the future. You mentioned education, and I’m glad you did. I know education you are passionate about with your wife being a teacher for 30 years, and god bless her. Her reward is in heaven, right? … My brother, who I think is the best schoolteacher in the year, and here’s a shout-out to all those third graders at Gladys Wood Elementary School, you get extra credit for watching the debate.

Look at the use of language. If you are a native English speaker it is enough to make your brain scream mercy while your eyes surrender the fight. If she was a bit older, I would assume she was senile. The meandering from point to point, to avoid the question, is something Grandpa Simpson would be proud of. It starts off gibberish then ends up with a shout out to some random school children. Truly the mind boggles. She plays on being un-educated to a level that would make George Dubya himself blush. It is beyond painfully bad. Surely no politician could think this is the way to speak in public.

Then, all of a sudden, it hit me like a bolt of lightning from Zeus himself.

This is why people want to vote for her.

Her “down to Earth” use of language constructs, her folk-story terminology, her “cute” (**) mannerisms. These are solely engineered to make people think “Hey, she is just like me.” Amazingly, taken in this light, it is very successful.

Still this confuses me a touch. I am not a good candidate for running the bath, let alone a country. Most people I know are either easily confused by finance, fail to understand international relations, struggle to decide how to reduce crime and so on. These are educated, intelligent people who could run rings around Palin (even if they are only three years old). None of the people I know, myself included, would make a good world leader – even if we all daydream about it occasionally.

Ah. Lightning bolt again. Thank Zeus that the Olympians are watching over us.

Palin appeals to the ignorant people who, through years of false positive reinforcement, actually do think, all the time, that they could really run the country. These people must be so truly deluded that they think it is just a slight accident of fate that their name isn’t on the ticket, and if they could run the country so could Palin – who is so like them.

This is a terrifying example of how a massive dose of self-delusion can have a traumatic effect on the nation.

Not only that, but it is really, really offensive. It offends me that people can be so self obsessed as to even come close to thinking this. Yes, everyone can have ideas on how the country can be run, and sometimes we may think we know better than the politicians. Yes, we can all shout at the TV how we could do the job a millions times better but the truth is very different.

In the modern world (and possibly always) there are very few, if any, jobs that are so generalised anyone can do them without training. My job is very specialised and I doubt someone could walk in of the street without any prior knowledge or training and even come close to doing it. Heather’s job is the same. Pretty much every job I can think of is done by people who have been taught how to do it, and it is done better by people who have experience. Even jobs considered to be of low importance to society require training.

Why on Earth are people so arrogant that they think a job as important as Vice-President (to a potentially frail President) can be done by someone “just like us.” Surely if America is a great nation, it needs great leaders – not empty phrases jumbled together in a pathetic appeal to the lowest common denominator?

(Sorry for the rants. I will attempt to resume normal service as soon as possible)

* By this, I mean they were not currently locked up in a mental health facility… Their lack of sanity is evident by their voting choice.

** By cute, of course, I mean vomit inducing.

Your chance to interview Sarah Palin

(Massive hat tip to Alun and, by extension, Michael for this)

Now you too can have the pleasure of an interview with Republican Vice-Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin. No longer will you have to miss out on the chance to hear her answer the important questions of the day.

Visit http://interviewpalin.com/ now.

This is an example of a recent interview I had:

Q: How will you fix the economy?
A: Our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to play an appropriate role in the world. Because we can’t afford to lose in Iraq, either, these central fronts on the verbiage that Senator McCain chose to use them. So we have got to show the support, in this one and who the good guys. Through reform, absolutely. Look at the end of the message that Americans are getting sick and tired of that self-dealing and kind of grab it all or capture it all and pretend like they have all options in order to stop the terrorists and stopping them over there.

I defy you to tell the difference… This is a real interview:

COURIC:Why isn’t it better, Governor Palin, to spend $700 billion helping middle-class families struggling with health care, housing, gas and groceries? Allow them to spend more and put more money into the economy? Instead of helping these big financial institutions that played a role in creating this mess?

PALIN: That’s why I say, I like ever American I’m speaking with were ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the tax payers looking to bailout. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up the economy – Helping the – Oh, it’s got to be about job creation too. Shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americas. And trade we’ve got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive scary thing. But 1 in 5 jobs being created in the trade sector today. We’ve got to look at that as more opportunity. All those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part of that.

Need I say more?

Palin – Joke or legitimate candidate?

Previously on the WhyDontYou Blog (cue “24″ theme tune), I made a tongue in cheek reference to Palin being a Republican party “joke candidate”. At the time, I didn’t really think it was true, I was just mocking her apparent difficulty at doing anything you would expect a potential vice-President to do.

However, reading through the Times Online today, I have to re-assess my opinion. Do people actually intend to vote for this person? Seriously, now? The joke has gone on for long enough. Please come clean.

With monumental understatement, the Times Online headlines “Sarah Palin struggles in unwelcome spotlight on eve of TV showdown.” This begins as if it is an everyday type news item with this almost bombshell:

John McCain’s campaign is putting pressure on the organisers of the vice-presidential debate tomorrow night to go easy on Sarah Palin amid growing alarm that faltering performances in recent days have made her an object of public ridicule.

Ok, on its own its quite funny. The Republican campaign managers are worried Palin is an embarrassment. Can you blame them? Amazingly, it gets worse:

Nancy Pfotenhauer, a senior campaign strategist for Mr McCain, has asked for fewer questions than might be expected on foreign policy in the debate. Pointing out that Mr Biden – chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations – would have an advantage on such issues, she said that the clash should at least be evenly balanced with domestic concerns. “The moderators will have some questions to answer themselves if they do go so heavy [on] foreign policy.”

Take a minute to read that. The Republican candidate for Vice-President, someone who would be expected to lead America in the event the President couldn’t, needed a campaign strategist to beg for special treatment in a debate.

Seriously? Is this really true? By Thor it is shocking.

Equally strange, the campaign strategist fully admits the Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate has an advantage with regards to foreign policy. They fully admit the Democrat knows more about foreign policy. How in Asgard’s name can Palin be a serious candidate? I really love the (not-so-)veiled threat at the end.

Surely the idea of a Vice-President who has no idea about foreign policy, even if they are somewhat up to speed on domestic issues, is madness? No matter how isolationist you want to be, you still need to have a foreign policy!

Ironically, she isn’t that hot on domestic issues either:

CBS is said to be planning to broadcast further segments of the interview in which she was apparently unable to name any Supreme Court judgments other than the Roe vs Wade ruling on abortion. An aide said that there was no fumbling on this question, merely silence.

Stop it. You’re killing me. This so has to be a joke.

Its interesting that the only judgement she knows about it is about abortion. Does this show she has spent her entire political career campaigning on a certain issue? Has she used her “faith” to get where she is? I would call her a one-trick pony, but I doubt she can manage that one trick.

Even the attempts to defend her are funny:

Mitt Romney, who narrowly missed becoming the vice-presidential nominee, is among those who think Mrs Palin has been overly schooled – losing spontaneity and confidence as a result. “I think they’d be a lot wiser to let Sarah Palin be Sarah Palin,” he said. Advisers said that many people would be appalled at the sneering towards her, and opponents patronised Mrs Palin at their peril. “She continues to be a huge asset who speaks directly to the middle American voter that the media so often ignore,” one source said.

I think being overly-schooled is the least of Sarah Palin’s problems. How, by Odin’s beard a potential Vice-President could be less educated is beyond me.

This leads me to a question for “middle America”: Are you really so stupid that this woman appeals to you? Do you base your votes, not on policies or ability, but by someone’s ability to “speak directly to you“? Aren’t you ashamed that the Republicans think you are this stupid that Palin speaks directly to you? (If you aren’t, you should be…)

There is an excellent quote from Palin towards the end of the article:

[Referring to the debate with Biden] She emphasised how long he [Biden] had been a Washington insider, saying: “I’ve been hearing about his Senate speeches since I was in, like, second grade.”

This is an attempt at an insult, when McCain is her running mate….

Well, it seems obvious to me now that McCain / Palin are a stand up comedy act that has been a bit too subtle for people to realise. The Republicans have realised they have zero chance of winning the election so have presented two fall-guy candidates, who will take the heat of their next candidate (and absolve them from having to pick either a woman or an old age pensioner next time). Sadly, though, this all says Palin was the best female they could find. Shame on you. If I was a woman, I’d be insulted that they thought she would appeal to my “demographic.”

No post can reference Times Online without looking at the comments. This is already long, so I will keep it short.

“Payne” from Honolulu seems to have trouble getting their words out:

Commentator’s especially not so appealing women with a chip on their shoulders are so jealous of Sarah Palin they are ready to stab her in the eye every chance they get.. Tne news matron Couric was oosing with jealousy. Hopefully, the Moose hunting gun is loaded and ready for Washington.

I really have no idea what this is supposed to say, but I am sure the last sentence could be construed as a criminal threat…

“Scot Benowitz” from Rye, New York has this to say:

In Nov. 1988 we elected Bush/ Quayle here-
Anybody remember such brilliant Quayle statements as “It isn’t pollution that’s harming the environment. It’s the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.”
Republican voters don’t look for knowledge of the world or eloquence in a VP candidate

Sadly, very true. It seems the Republicans look for retardation, ignorance and stupidity in a VP candidate. They dont aim much higher for the Presidential candidate either.

Come the elections, we will see the truth of the statement that in a democracy, the people get the government they deserve. Truly, if a majority of Americans are willing to vote for McCain/Palin, you deserve them.